Domestic Violence Awareness Month might be officially over, but domestic violence is a major issue in our communities all year long. Here are five things anyone and everyone can do to help:
5. Learn about the issues and warning signs
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has an excellent list of warning signs to watch out for:
Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partner.
Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
- Tells you that you can never do anything right
- Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
- Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
- Controls every penny spent in the household
- Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
- Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Prevents you from making your own decisions
- Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
- Prevents you from working or attending school
- Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol
Also, domestic violence is not always physical - It can encompass sexual, financial, emotional, and/or psychological abuse.
4. Believe survivors and support their choices.
When someone tells you they have been abused, BELIEVE THEM and tell them that you do. You should also encourage them to reach out to local and national agencies devoted to helping victims of domestic violence (but only if they can do so without alerting the abuser).
For more tips and strategies on how to best support a survivor of domestic violence, we've found these links especially helpful:
- Multicare: 10 ways to help survivors of domestic violence
- WomensHealth.gov: How to help a friend who is being abused
- Joyful Heart Foundation: 6 Steps to Support a Survivor
3. Ask your workplace if they have a domestic violence program in place.
From Futures Without Violence:
If they don’t, ask your HR department to put one in place by visiting Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence. Domestic violence is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. It causes immense suffering for those directly experiencing the abuse and their families, while also impacting the safety, productivity, and costs of doing business.
2. Get loud
Participate in an awareness event; hang up our posters in your home, workplace, and place of worship; confront victim-blaming attitudes in your daily life; teach children to respect the choices and boundaries of others...
1. Support programs that support survivors
Local domestic violence shelters and advocacy programs work directly with survivors to support them as they escape abuse and reestablish their independence and self-determination. Find your local shelters and advocacy programs
Statewide organizations like the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence provide training and other support to local advocacy programs and other first responders, advise legislators and policymakers about the needs of survivors, and convene work groups and task forces to improve the breadth and quality of services. Donate now